Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Is Quincy Institute Washington's "Weirdest" Think Tank?

Here are some excerpts from a Tablet piece by Armin Rosen, entitled "Washington's Weirdest Think Tank":

The [Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft] titular director and president is Andrew Bacevich, a historian, former U.S. Army colonel, and a widely respected if sometimes overwrought proponent of the idea that a military-industrial complex has hijacked American society. The IRS document identifies Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council until 2018, as another one of Quincy’s co-founders and as its executive vice president. The tax exemption application lists Parsi’s estimated compensation at $275,000 a year, compared with $50,000 for Bacevich—a fair indication of who is actually running Washington’s weirdest and most intriguing foreign policy shop.

Chas Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia and one of the elder statesmen of the realist movement in American foreign policy, told me he was “part of the group consulted about [Quincy’s] formation,” though he has no affiliation with the institute. “I think the main organizer was Trita Parsi, and perhaps that was a product of his disappointment as head of NIAC,” Freeman recalled. “I think he probably thought: How can I play a role in trying to shake things loose a little bit, not particularly on Iran, but generally.”


There are lots of juicy anecdotes throughout the piece.  Think Tank Watch's favorite line: "[Is Quincy] a three-ring circus of governmental, academic, and think tank washouts, funded by two megalomaniacal billionaires and led by a man alleged to be a cheerleader for a hostile foreign government?"

Entities and people mentioned in the piece include: Lawrence Wilkerson, Charles Koch Institute, Open Society Foundations, George Soros, Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), Stephen Heintz, J Street, Arms Control Association, Ploughshares Fund, International Crisis Group, Robert Malley, Thomas Pickering, Francis Najafi, Adam Weinstein, Suzanne DiMaggio, Joe Cirincione, Colin Kahl, Lora Lumpe, Stephen Metz, Max Abrahms, Samuel Moyn, Javad Zarif, Charles Doran, John Mearsheimer, Bob Ney, Eli Clifton, Stephen Wertheim, Lawrence Wilkerson, Joshua Landis, Ford Foundation, Giustra International Foundation, Stephen Walt, Ron Burkle, and many others.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece about the founding of the Quincy Institute.